This month I am super excited about our transformation story of the month because it has been an unbelievable type of transformation. Fenella from Australia, is sharing with us how she went from a destructive type of lifestyle of being addicted to heroin, to finally taking control of her life and living a happy and healthy lifestyle! It is an amazing story that shows no matter what you go through in life, if you want, you can take ownership and turn your life around. If you are looking for inspiration, you can follow Fenella on Instagram @fitfenji
Enjoy and get inspired
You have gone through a lot of transformations in the recent years - tell us about yourself, and what made you rethink your lifestyle?
So I am 30 years old now. From about the age of 12 I have been addicted to substances and smoking cigarettes. I've always been a sporty kid, but slowly, slowly my lifestyle took its toll on my physical ability and body. When school finished I pretty much stopped exercise completely. I found myself in a short term rehab from heroin at 27, which I then relapsed as soon as I got out. Then 9 months later checked into a long term rehab, called 'The Buttery' outside of Byron Bay. I was there for 10 months. Once again I relapsed when I was out. A week after I turned 29, I had an unplanned miscarriage. I didn't even know I was pregnant. I have never used a drug since. I did however, turn to food. I ate way more than I needed to, to cope with my feelings. Eventually, that also became to painful and I started my journey back to fitness and health at 3 months clean and sober. It has now been almost 18 months since I started proper training and I've never felt better or younger.
What changes did you make?
I changed everything. Exercise. Eating. Sleeping. Thinking. Slowly, I had to change my whole life around.
Every new beginning is difficult - how did you stay motivated?
I stayed motivated cause I was desperate enough to change. I took small steps. Started with my exercise and eventually tackled food. I had my instagram @fitfenji to also keep me accountable and motivated. I found that helped me heaps. Also- with the amount of support from other women around the world. THAT, is priceless.
How did you go about setting goals for yourself?
My goal was: To be healthy and happy. That way I am never done. It wasn't about looking a certain way. It's about FEELING a certain way for me. So I was able to stop being so stressed and realise its about making healthy choices.
How long did it take you until this change became a lifestyle, normal part of your everyday life?
I would say it took about 3 months for my habits to form. To actually start going to the gym on autopilot... Also, I started to FEEL amazing and with that, I actually wanted to get up and train- instead of feeling like I have to.
Along the way, did you have any setbacks, and how did you overcome them?
I always have setbacks. But each morning I pray for the willingness to make healthy decisions. I am not religious, but I am spiritual and I believe in setting intentions to the universe, to yourself... To talking about stuff with friends, and to never try and tackle setbacks alone... People WANT to help, we just have to ask 🙂
What does your typical day look like in terms of nutrition choices and workouts?
To be honest, I no longer have a typical day... I'm now at uni and working, so I am all out of whack.. But I eat between 3-5 meals a day, snack on veggie sticks in peanut butter (sometimes too much), eat 2 pieces of DARK DARK chocolate every night.. I exercise 5-6 days a week. Sometimes 3 if I'm super busy. I mix up boring, Kalya Itsines BBG work outs and heavy lifting.
How has your life, health and overall wellbeing changed throughout this process?
I have never been happier and more okay with who I am. I am at peace. I have freedom from myself. I no longer stress ALL DAY EVERY DAY about food like I used to. Exercise has helped me with depression. My general mood is great now. I have more energy. My skin feels better. I think clearer. I am just plain happier.
What did you learn about yourself throughout this lifestyle change?
I learnt that change is possible. It takes hard work and dedication. You have to DO it, not just WANT it.... Good thinking doesn't lead to good action, but good action generally always leads to good thinking.
What kind of advise can you give to anyone looking to change their lifestyle to a healthier one?
To start- plan. On a Sunday night, plan your week ahead. Go to the gym NO MATTER WHAT. Unless you are sick of course.. Wait at least 6 weeks, before you notice any difference- internal or external. Meal prep helped me get into the routine of healthy eating initially... Setting aside 4 hours to cook up quick healthy options for when you are starving (me, always)... Better then reaching for sugar. Do this for health.... You are worth it